Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Kasane Chapter 72 Review/Synopsis - Doom

Written by: Pomelote

Recommended reading: Kasane series recap and Chapter 71 recap

Got all that? No? Too bad, here we go!

Nogiku narrates. “Closer and closer to the kiss/exchange just before the final performance. And the final checkpoint to sink Saki/Kasane into hell…”
Kasane and Nogiku go into the backstage storeroom where they do the exchange. “This is a pain. The lights are out for the day, or something…”, Kasane says. “So they are, huh… we’ll get it over with quickly, at least.” “Mmm.” Nogiku offers,“I can light our footsteps with my mobile,”and Kasane thanks her. Kasane comments, “It’s like being in the middle of a stage blackout.” To the reader, Nogiku explains: “I took the lights out in advance, so that during the final exchange, we won’t be able to see each other’s faces.” That was such a terrible, terrible idea, Nogiku.

Kasane offers up a little theatre trivia: “Most of the time, we get into position by relying on glow-in-the-dark tape stuck to the floor.” Nogiku murmurs,“Is that right…”, obviously not at all interested. Nogiku: “Normally, when we switch in the storeroom, the first kiss temporarily returns our faces. And when we re-do the kiss again, our faces switch a second time, renewing the effect for twelve hours. But now, Kasane/Saki’s lips are painted with my fake, substituted lipstick.”
Turning off her phone’s light as they kiss, Nogiku thinks, “She shouldn’t notice that the faces she’s expecting to return with the first kiss don’t return, since I’ve lured her into the darkness…”
“After this, the only thing left is to wait for the rise of the curtain.” Nogiku starts to leave, touching her face. Kasane stays back in the storeroom, seeming to be thinking about something. “Saki, it’s okay to come out. There’s nobody here.” Kasane doesn’t respond. Nogiku starts to leave. “Well, I’ll go before y-”
Kasane clutches at Nogiku’s hand, startling her and setting her on edge. “Wha- what’s wrong? Saki?” Nogiku asks as Kasane puts her head on Nogiku’s shoulder. “I’m afraid. This is the first time I’m this nervous.” Her hand trembles. Nogiku reassures her, not looking like she's buying it herself,“It’s just that today’s performance is important to you.”
“Mmm. Um, Nogiku… It’s like you were in the audience at The Glass Curtain’s curtain call for me to find… ‘Nogiku is here and watching’: Just the thought of it lifts my spirits, because even today, you’ll be watching closely until the end.” She holds Nogiku’s hand in hers, a tear running down her cheek.

Nogiku’s eyes mist up. “Of course I’ll be here! Didn’t we promise to walk together?” Imagining the two of them together as children, playing happily, Nogiku narrates, “For an instant… I thought about a different fate. If the way we were born and how we met weren’t so mixed-up, if we could live and support each other as normal sisters…” Kasane thanks Nogiku. “Just thinking about impossibilities like that was pointless, but even so…” Nogiku narrates, trailing off.
Later, in the foyer of the theatre, during intermission, Habuta and Nogiku drink coffee. Habuta comments, “You look pale. Are you alright?“ Nogiku confirms that she is and asks, “Since we had the Suginuma incident, you’ve been surprisingly considerate to me.” “Is that so?” Habuta seems surprised, and he pauses. “Maybe I have sympathy in regards to the talk we had about your father. The kind of man who forces a child into life and grinds it into the dirt… deserves to be killed.” he says, referring to both his and Nogiku’s origins as children of rape.

“In addition, I have experience with that… that kind of guy.” Nogiku looks apprehensive. “Well, it’s fine. Soon they’ll be opening back up, let’s go.” He changes the subject and they go back inside. Back in their seats, Nogiku narrates. “Kasane’s trust. Habuta’s sympathy. But that’s the way things are. It’s all pretence at being a convenient and willing collaborator.”

On stage, Kasane-as-Saki-as-Lady-MacBeth pushes MacBeth to the murder of King Duncan: “I have given suck, and know how tender ‘tis to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums, and dash’d the brains out!” Dead baby jokes. Even Shakespeare loved 'em!

Nogiku: “This ominousness. Until a moment ago, I wouldn’t have thought that this woman owned the shaking hands that held onto me. But as the story continues, the spirit of the wife who held up her husband is lost, as if a sickness of the soul has utterly defanged her.” On stage, Lady MacBeth transitions from the cool-headed schemer of the first half of the play to the mad wretch of the second half.
“Out, damned spot! Out, I say!”, Lady MacBeth rages. “With expressiveness greater than she's shown up to yesterday, she’s making all of us in the audience experience Lady MacBeth’s delusions of blood..."
“Ah! Ah! Ah!” Lady MacBeth weeps and cries out on stage. "This talent!"
“When she twists the overwhelmingly, magnificently cruel lies towards reality… it’s a wicked power for stealing other people’s lives.” Nogiku thinks (she has a tendency to waffle on a bit if you let her), imagining shades of her mother and Nina pushing her on.

The play skips ahead to MacBeth being informed of his wife’s suicide. “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time, and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!” Ah, this chapter has a MacBeth-ism for everyone.

“Lady MacBeth and MacBeth are drawn to their own destruction… just like… you.” Nogiku thinks, watching the final scenes of MacBeth fighting and dying at Dunsinane Hill at the hands of MacDuff.

The play ends and the audience give a standing ovation to the cast, who gather for curtain call. “Closer and closer to the curtain call that ends your existence as Saki…!”
“A few seconds to go until the lipstick’s effect wears off… come on!"
"Right in the middle of these onlooker’s gazes. At long last, it’s all over.” As the cast members bow, Nogiku narrates, counting down to the moment the lipstick wears off...

A beat. On stage, Kasane remains the same. More seconds pass, and Nogiku gets increasingly anxious. “A minute since the planned time… a minute and a half! Why hasn’t her face come back!?”
“Two minutes… this is impossible… no, this can’t be happening, I definitely switched out the lipstick!”
“It’s okay… surely, now…” Nogiku desperately checks her watch again, as Kasane turns and fixes Nogiku with a grotesque smile. The googly eyes are a lovely touch.
“Wha… what?!”  Nogiku loses her footing and seems to feel something, as she holds her head and hunches over. “Suddenly… I’m getting drowsy. I… can’t stand… im…possible…” She buckles, but Habuta catches her.

As she passes out from the drugs he slipped into her coffee, he whispers, “Don’t you think it’s incredible? This final performance. She played her part beautifully.  I’d say that certainly, in her heart, she’s torn to pieces by your betrayal, Nogiku.”



And that’s suspense. Encore!

It seems like the “final climax” that Nogiku predicted was due was for Nogiku herself, not Kasane. I had been wondering where Habuta disappeared to in the last chapter; it’s nice to get a pay-off to that (the lipstick Nogiku destroyed was already a fake, and he probably followed her and replaced her fake with the real one). It’s not really clear yet how long Kasane and Habuta have been testing/playing Nogiku for, but probably for a while now. Did he manage to overcome his secrecy fetish and tell her Nogiku’s origins or did she figure it out for herself? Or does she know anything about Nogiku's secrets at all? Soon we’ll see how much Kasane really knows.

This chapter also sheds some light on how Kasane overcame her issues playing the part, with Nobuhiko's advice about how the Lady MacBeth from the beginning of the play becomes the Lady MacBeth from the end: losing her "support" (Nogiku) and being overwhelmed by guilt (the ghosts of Nina and Ichika). So when she confirmed that Nogiku had betrayed her beyond a doubt in this chapter (losing her support), she was finally able to give the "perfect" performance seen here. It also seemed like Kasane’s speech to Nogiku early in the chapter was her way of giving her one last chance to tell her the truth and turn back from her plan, and when she didn’t, Kasane thanked her, grateful that she could go ahead with whatever happens next to Nogiku.

Part of me is happy that this isn’t the end for Kasane, not by a long shot, but part of me is apprehensive about what this means for Nogiku. Just like she was afraid of back when she met Kasane on the beach, despite Sukeyo wanting Nogiku to avoid sharing her fate, she’s followed straight in her footsteps. The only saving grace right now is that Amagasaki is still out there, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if Kasane and Habuta know all about him, too.

Anyway, it's generally hard to judge this series on a chapter-by-chapter basis, but I can happily say that this is a fantastic, climactic chapter. Artwise, Daruma’s work was hella expressive this chapter (and I love that furry collar and the feathery bustier-thingy that Kasane’s rocking as Lady MacBeth in her prime), and the colour pages were great, as always. I think it’s the first time we’ve had a good look at Kasane’s normal face (not to mention Kasane's face on Nogiku) in a colour page, too, which is a real treat.

See you next time, and don’t drink the coffee!

Pomelote is the physical embodiment of first-world millenial entitlement. You can contact her on Skype with the name suukebind or Twitter at @poorlicoricekid, if you know any good spam bots. When she has free time, she enjoys putting gross, chewed gum in people's freezers and using their floss without asking.